Wednesday, February 11, 2015

September Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up: Corn is Maturing

In GriggsDakota we are near the Northern edge of climate suitable for growing corn. Our late frosts can  stunt it or kill it in May and our early frost can stop maturity in September. New varieties have been developed that make it possible, but not easy to grow here. Even a few miles to the South, corn flourishes more than it does here. However, in the complicated business of farming, we persevere with corn. 
The Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up for September 2014 is awarded to:
Corn is Maturing
Originally published on September 25, 2014
 It is now clear to see which places in the corn field were most damaged by frost.
 But all of the corn was not affected. Corn cob maturation will continue, as long as the stalk is alive, despite the brown leaves. After the 2011 September frost Grandpa Sonny collected cobs each week to watch the cobs over a four week period. Click on the link to visit this post.
In order for corn to be ready for harvest, it must be mature and dry. It is unusual for corn to dry down to safe storage moisture content in the field. Our season is so short. It does need to dry enough to go through the combine and dry down in a grain dryer. 
We planted corn that takes 75 and 79 days to mature. 
We also look for varieties that have a quick dry down. When the corn price is low, as it is this season, it does not pay for us to dry corn excessively. The ability of a variety to dry down in the field is just as important as finding a variety that we can reasonably expect to mature during our short season.
 The cobs that we checked were mostly, but not completely, dented. That means that the cobs have not fully matured. As they dry, cobs often drop, allowing their silk end to point to the ground.
This season, even for our short season varieties, dry down will likely start with a hard freeze. The corn is  several weeks away from becoming a crop ready for harvest in GriggsDakota.

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